Like I said in my previous post “A Cloudy Conversation with Mike Payne“, a lot has been said about CAD on the cloud by people like me who are nowhere close to actually shaping the future of the CAD software industry. In my quest to find out what other CAD vendors think about CAD on the cloud, I put the cloud question to Mark Parent, Chief Operating Office and Vice President of Finance of Kubotek USA, the developers of KeyCreator. I wanted to know how Kubotek was viewing all of this. This is what Mark had to say:
Simply put, I think most of the vendors want to offer a cloud solution to give their users and prospects another choice. At the end of the day, it appears to me that the cloud is nothing more than a new pricing model. Most vendors will still try and lock the user in to their software by file format games or other activities. I think today’s cloud is more like a lead balloon. It’s just another trick by the large greedy corporations that want to trap you inside, and will someday sink you to the ground.
Doesn’t it feel like the corporations are the real problem? I can argue that the corporations are now in the way of progress.
So, what is the future?
I think the corporate world and the software world will drastically change in the near future. Just think how fragile the software industry really is. What if Autodesk decided that they were no longer going to charge for their software and they gave it to everyone for free? Of course, they wouldn’t be the financial powerhouse that they are today, but maybe their community would be bigger and stronger. Corporations today are all about quarterly profits and their shareholders, and that’s fine for them. But this leads to the customer being less the focal point. In fact, it treats the customer quite poorly.
What if a strong online community was built that had access to all the software tools needed at no charge? What if the community was the ones to maintain the software? Obviously this is being done in limited situations, but what holds people back from doing this? There could be store fronts that sold services, training and other added value items.
Longevity of the community is key.
So I guess we can count Kubotek out of the cloud party, at least for now. I will continue to try and get decision makers to go public with their views on CAD on the cloud. As you can imagine, this is by no means an easy task.
We can look into our crystal balls and come up with our own predictions for the cloud. But it is these senior executives in the CAD software companies who will ultimately decide which way the CAD software industry will head. Their views are far more important than mine.